Terrence McNally’s play, Master Class, is about to get the HBO treatment and come to the small screen. The stage play, made famous by Zoe Caldwell as Maria Callas, eventually went on to star Patti LuPone, Dixie Carter, and most recently, Tyne Daly in the 2011 Broadway revival. Now, it’s Meryl Streep’s turn to step into the famed opera diva’s shoes. Maria Callas was an American-born, Greek soprano, who was known for her wide vocal range and dramatic flair. She graced the world’s most famous opera houses, and eventually went on to teach a series of master classes at The Juilliard School from 1971-1972. Those master classes served as the basis for McNally’s vibrant and lively play. What I find interesting is that Meryl teams up Mike Nichols again whom she has worked with on numerous occasions. It’s going to be fun to see what the two can bring to this character and the piece as a whole. Callas was a colorful personality, so I’m sure Meryl will have no problem. She’s a legend in her own right. She also has a talent for playing real-life characters. We can tell from her Oscar-winning performance in The Iron Lady.
Actresses who play Maria Callas have a lot of source material to fall back on, and what’s better than the actual master classes at Juilliard. Below is the audio from one of her many classes. She is working with student, tenor Mario Fusco on an aria from the opera, Tosca by Puccini. Enjoy the sounds of the real Maria Callas. I can’t wait to see Meryl as Maria.
AMC’s Breaking Badis going down in history as one of the greatest shows in television history already; and it just ended a month ago. And, it only lasted 5 seasons. One would assume that the longer a series runs, the more successful it is. While it’s fantastic that a series can sustain longevity, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be remembered fondly because it had a long run. Over time, without any sort of evolution, storylines and characters become stale. A good story has a beginning, middle, and an end. Most of the time in television, the stories that are told are open-ended. They are meant to go on forever. That is not the case with Breaking Bad. The show’s creator, Vince Gilligan, has even stated that the 5 seasons it was on was the perfect amount of time to tell the story in its entirety and not over-do things. Part of what made the show so appealing was that the story line (while it had its twists and turns) was very clearly following the setup of a beginning, middle and ultimate ending. Most Hollywood executives would probably want to ride the success of a show like Breaking Bad for as long as they possibly can, making as much profit from it as possible; whether or not the story has run out of steam. The genius of the show was that it did not over-stay its welcome. It told its specific story and came to an end, exiting gracefully. I love the show. It will forever be one of, if not my favorite show on television due to its fantastic acting and writing. Watching Bryan Cranston and the rest of the cast act is like a master class. Anthony Hopkins was completely in the right with the breathtaking fan letter he wrote to Bryan Cranston about his admiration of the show. It is truly the best acting I’ve seen too. That is probably due to one thing: They were telling the truth. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul, along with their cast mates, told what was true for each of their characters situations as they evolved throughout the series. That made it powerful. I think what made the series most interesting was that the characters, like people do in real life, changed. Whether they were good, bad, or a mix of both, they were ultimately, human. If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad, watch it. Now. You won’t regret it.